Bayliss on his fi­nal lap

Aussie champ is go­ing out on a high, writes STEPHEN OTTLEY

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

THE ca­reer of one of Aus­tralia’s great­est mo­tor racing ex­ports comes to an end this week­end. Troy Bayliss will take his last laps in the fi­nal round of the World Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship at Por­tu­gal’s new Por­ti­mao cir­cuit.

The Du­cati star has al­ready clinched this year’s ti­tle on the com­pany’s new 1098 F08 ma­chine. It is his third ti­tle on as many dif­fer­ent Du­cati mod­els, mak­ing him the only rider to achieve the feat.

The 39-year-old is looking to end his ca­reer with two more wins to add to his tally of 50 vic­to­ries and 92 podi­ums in 152 starts.

‘‘I am a lot more re­laxed now that I know that we have done what we set out to do,’’ Bayliss says. ‘‘We’ve won the rid­ers and con­struc­tors ti­tles and can tick that off the list. Now I can go to Por­ti­mao know­ing a huge weight has been lifted off my shoul­ders. I’m looking for­ward to racing there be­cause what we saw dur­ing the re­cent test days was a very im­pres­sive track.’’

De­spite all his suc­cess, Bayliss knows he has cho­sen the right time to call it quits.

‘‘It’s been a long and stress­ful year and I’m tired. I feel I have just enough en­ergy left to com­plete th­ese last two races ... I would love to fin­ish the sea­son, and my ca­reer, with a win, so that’s my goal this week­end, to ride with no pres­sure and just en­joy what will be my fi­nal two Su­per­bike races,’’ he says.

Bayliss’s his­tory with Du­cati dates to 1998, when he rode for the Ital­ian brand in the Bri­tish Su­per- bike Se­ries. He won that ti­tle in 1999 be­fore be­ing pro­moted to the World Su­per­bike team to re­place Carl Fog­a­rty in 2000.

He won the ti­tle in 2001 and was run­ner-up in 2002 to Amer­i­can Colin Ed­wards in a thrilling fi­nal-race de­cider.

He moved to Mo­toGP in 2003 with Du­cati and spent two sea­son with the out­fit be­fore switch­ing to the Pons Honda team for 2005.

The Mo­toGP bikes didn’t suit his rid­ing style and he re­turned to World Su­per­bikes in 2006 to win the ti­tle for Du­cati again.

He made a one-off ap­pear­ance at the Mo­toGP race in Va­len­cia and dom­i­nated from the start to notch his only Mo­toGP win.

He will move back to Aus­tralia from his home in Monaco with his wife Kim and three chil­dren.

He has ex­pressed an in­ter­est in fol­low­ing fel­low mo­tor­cy­cle world cham­pion Wayne Gard­ner into V8 Su­per­cars, but hasn’t an­nounced any of­fi­cial plans.

‘‘I don’t think I’m fin­ished with racing. All I know is I’ve had enough of racing world su­per­bikes,’’ he said ear­lier this year.

‘‘I love tour­ing cars . . . I’d rather watch tour­ing car races than any other racing. It’s close and it’s full-on, just like su­per­bikes.’’

Call­ing it quits: Troy Bayliss has won three World Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship ti­tles, rid­ing for Du­cati.

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